Chapter 3: Heads of the Hewdraw

"Hurry, Pit!" Palutena exclaimed, Pit's wings alighting as he jumped out the door with his Fortune Bow in hand.

"What's the matter?" Pit asked as I joined him on Winged Star with the First Blade in hand, replacing my wooden sword. A Monoeye, Mik, and Syren flew by, but we quickly shot them down.

"Medusa has brought the fight to our realm. Her forces are invading Skyworld!"

A trio of Monoeyes flew up, followed by a Syren and another trio of Monoeyes. Pit's charged arrow blasted down one trio while I shot down the Syren with a charged blast and dispatched the other Monoeyes with rapid-fire.

"She must be getting back at us for taking down Dark Lord Gaol," Pit deduced, blasting a Souflee and some more Monoeyes as I shot down some Paramush.

"Medusa's venom knows no bounds, but I know you can stop her Underworld Army!"

"You sure have a lot of faith in me, Lady Palutena."

"You've done it before, Pit. And this time you have help!"

I nodded determinedly at Palutena's words.

"Oh, and Shane's here too."

I promptly face-faulted.

"Just kidding!"

I recovered as Pit shot down a Specknose and some Monoeyes. I sliced through a Komayto that drew close, then joined Pit in shooting down a rush of Monoeyes and Paramush, only to wind up stuck behind my shield as another group of Monoeyes, Miks, and Syrens fired on us.

"See ya!" I heard Pit call out tauntingly, before the barrage of projectiles abruptly ceased. Once I lowered my shield, Pit flew in next to me. "You okay?"

"I'm fine," I replied. "Thanks. How'd you get rid of them so easily?"

"That was a Special Attack. Pit can teach you about them later. For now, if you find yourself overwhelmed by a large group of enemies again, use your Aura Storm to deal with them."


We shot down about four Syrens as we continued, then fired at a group of Monoeyes and Daphnes. Once they were done, we flew onward and shot down some Monoeyes to find a Belunka straight ahead.

"Don't these guys ever get tired?" Pit complained as we flew up to it.

The Belunka began to spawn more monsters, with another group of Monoeyes and Miks popping up from below the clouds to cover it. I put away my weapons, then pulled my hands back to charge up.

"Out of the way!" I yelled before unleashing Aura Storm upon them. It was a bit hard to shift my aim to get them all, but I managed it, at the cost of needing several seconds to catch my breath afterwards.

"At this rate, the Power of Flight is going to expire before they do."

"Then let's go after the commander!" Pit suggested.

"There's just one thing you should know. Their commander is Hewdraw."

"Hewdraw?" Pit parroted. "Like, this guy?"

Somehow, at Pit's words, transparent image an eight-bit serpent popped up in front of me as I re-drew my weapons.

"And speak of the devil-there he is!" Palutena said, drawing Pit's gaze to the distant, somehow airborne serpent as the eight-bit image faded.

The angel's reaction was rather natural, all things considered.

"He can fly?!" Pit exclaimed in disbelief.

"I think the only one who can't fly by himself is you."

"I can't fly without Winged Star," I reminded quietly.

"Anyway, Pit's right. Attacking the leader is a good plan."

"Let's do it!" Pit cheered, shooting down a pair of Specknoses while I slashed a pair of Coral to knock them through some Monoeyes and Paramush. A little farther ahead, we destroyed two Syrens and two more Corals, the latter of which I knocked into the Monoeyes and Miks behind them.

After blasting our way through more monsters, we finally found ourselves close enough to interact with Hewdraw. Pit flew directly in front of the Hewdraw's three heads.

"Hello there!" The blue one to the serpent's right greeted in a deep, growly voice.

"It's snack time!" The purple one in the middle proclaimed, possessing a light English accent.

"Mm! What tender little morsels!" The red head said as I flew up in front of them, following Pit.

"We are NOT pieces of meat!" Pit yelled.

"What did you say?" Red asked.

"Technically you are!" Purple stated.

"Just come a little closer…" Blue 'invited' as we began flying under their body.

"Get ready," Pit began, "cause it's time for-"

"Tobonahstompching-descarnage!" The Hewdraws interrupted simultaneously, their respective words impossible to decode.

Everyone paused as Pit and I came back up behind the Hewdraws and began flying over them. I lowered myself to run along their back, slashing back and forth while holding on to Winged Star's right wing as the argument began anew.

"It was my turn to have the last word!"

"Oh, give it a rest!"

"Let's not argue in front of company."

"Cram a sock in it, foot-face!"

"I am soooo sick of you guys!"

"Me?! What did I do?!"

"Knock it off already!"

My attacks, as I'm sure you can tell, did nothing.

"YOU knock it off!"

"I can't believe this is my life…"

"Can we go home and watch TV now?"

You know, I didn't think of it at the time, but I'm surprised I managed to do that whole running-on-their-back thing without losing my grip on Winged Star or slipping on Hewdraw's scales.

"Would everyone just shut it?!"

"Someone put me out of my misery."

"Did I mention I'm starving?"

"And you think we're not?!"

The arguing became impossible to discern after that. I jumped back on to Winged Star when I reached their necks, positive I couldn't scratch them from above.

"Um… now what?" Pit asked as we flew in front of the Hewdraws once more.

"This is never going to end. Just go ahead and attack!" Palutena instructed. Pit and I looked at each other and shrugged, then fired our respective charged shots at the heads.

"EVERYONE, SHUT UP, AND FOCUS!" The Hewdraws shouted together, snapping back to reality.

The blue one began charging a fire blast as the red retaliated with a crescent-shaped beam by slashing with his horn and the purple fired some eye blasts. I focused my fire on the blue one while Pit evaded the attacks from the other two, though I couldn't stop the fire blast. Pit managed to get out of the way, but I was forced to block it. I managed to reduce the damage I would've taken, but the shield could only do so much. Fortunately, I was still in good condition.

Noticing some flames on my clothes and ride, I put away my weapons and crouched, grabbing the wings. I then pulled hard on the left wing as I leaned to the right, sending me into an aileron roll that extinguished the fire. I somehow managed to right myself after just one spin, only taking a second to shake off the dizziness when I stood back up.

While I did that, Pit dodged around some small projectiles and a fireball to shoot the purple head off of Hewdraw's body. Once I recovered, I blocked a horn-wave and some small eye-originated projectiles as Pit fired on the red head. I then fired a charged shot from the First Blade as Pit released a charged arrow from his Fortune Bow, taking the red head down as well.

"Oh! I'm the only one left!" The blue head exclaimed.

"Actually, I'd say you're the only one right!" Pit quipped. Silence followed. "…Get it? Right?"

"No biggie," Hewdraw replied, surprisingly calm. "In fact, I feel great losing all that dead weight!"

It fired another horn-wave. Pit rolled aside while I tried to block it. This one knocked me off balance, but I recovered before the follow-up fireball could knock me off. A few charged shots and several barrages of rapid-fire later, I got impatient and put away my weapons to charge up for an Aura Storm. After pulling back behind Pit where I didn't think Hewdraw could interrupt me, I prepared the move.

"Just die already!" I yelled, maneuvering in front of Pit and unleashing the attack. The massive beam engulfed the flying serpent, and when the Storm subsided, the monster exploded in a bright flash of light.

"And that's that," Pit said, turning around. I quickly joined him after recovering.

"Not so fast. Hewdraw heads can live without a body. You'd better follow them."

Pit proceeded to perform a backward somersault followed by a dive into the clouds. I groaned loudly as I realized this was probably going to happen a lot in this adventure, then crouched and guided Winged Star into a dive to follow.

"The Underworld forces are retreating!" Palutena announced as Pit and I dispatched some Underworld troops.

"Mission accomplished!" Pit cheered.

"Far from it. Those two Hewdraw heads are still alive. They've plunged into the human world below and taken their legion with them."

"Then we'd better do something!"

As I followed Pit, shooting down monsters, I didn't expect it when he stopped mere feet from the ground.

"WHOA!" I yelled as I blasted by the angel and promptly crashed. Winged Star burst into miniature stars as I was launched upwards. Pit caught me by my right arm, and swapped from his Fortune Bow to the Insight Staff to keep fighting one-handed. Embarrassed, but not wanting to be dead weight, I put away my shield and drew the First Blade with my left hand so I could keep shooting things.

Pit turned to the left, then right, both of us shooting down Underworld troops until Pit spotted the heads. It was rather awkward to use my off-hand, but thankfully, the homing attribute of charged shots and visibility of the rapid-fire made it easier than it could've been, and I avoided using melee attacks.

"This is bad!" He commented, staring at distant town. Following his gaze, I noticed the two Hewdraw heads bouncing around, though they were difficult to make out.

"Let's hurry. For a pair of disembodied heads, they sure moved fast!" Palutena said, speeding Pit up.

We reached the town in a matter of seconds, shooting down Underworld troops as we went. Pit flew us up to circle the town from above, but neither of us spotted horn or scale of our targets.

"I don't see the Hewdraw heads anywhere! Where'd they go?!"

"Nothing but flames…" I quietly added.

"Don't lose YOUR heads too, boys. Let's check the town."

Pit finished circling the city, and flew in over the front gate with a cheer and a spin, letting me go.

Pit landed expertly, sliding to a stop as the Power of Flight was disabled. I landed next to him on one knee, with my left hand on the ground and my right outstretched. A perfect action hero landing. I must admit, I was a little proud of myself for managing it.

…even if it was a little hard on my knees.

"The people have all gone into hiding, but where did those Hewdraw heads go?" Pit pondered.

"They could be anywhere. We need to stop them before they wreak even more havoc! As you search for them, take out any Underworld troops that cross your path."

With that, Pit glanced at me before walking ahead, switching back to his Fortune Bow. I stood up, taking a moment to shake out my leg before catching up to him as a trio of Monoeyes appeared. They flew over some burning rubble that blocked the path forward, but they showed us an alleyway. Pit took out two with a single charged arrow, while I shot down the last one. We dodged and dispatched a pair of Gyrazers in the alley, then hopped down a low ledge and immediately evaded the blasts from a pair of Commyloose floating above one another. A single charged shot from the two of us took them both down instantly. With them dealt with, I noticed a gate up some stairs with an intimidating lock.

It was circular, with a skull on the bottom and flames shooting out either side of said skull. Above it was a large '4', surrounded by heart symbols, four of which were lit up. I decided to check it out, walking up to it and passing through when the strange lock simply vanished. I wasn't sure what that was about, but I walked through anyway.

"That way leads back to where you started," Palutena stated as I walked through a narrow path that led to a ledge a few feet above where we started. I went around a corner to my right to find a Treasure Box.

Walking up, I propped the box open to peek at what was inside. For some reason, a bright glow emanated from the container, obscuring the loot, so I pushed the lid wide open and crouched to retrieve what the glow hid, then whirled around and held it above my head, revealing a pair of spherical metal devices rotating above my hand.

"You got a pair of Standard Orbitars! Orbitars are hands-free weapons that excel at ranged combat and don't weigh down the user. But they're not very effective in melee range," Palutena explained.

I lowered my hand, and the Orbitars began floating on either side of me near my shoulders. Just then, a Souflee appeared in front of me. I tensed, holding my arms out to the sides as I prepared to fight, only to accidentally fire a charged shot from the Orbitars and knocking the Souflee against the wall, but it took a charged arrow from Pit to finish it, at which point a bunch of heart-shaped objects flew towards Pit. I'd seen them before, and gotten a few myself, but until then, I kept forgetting to tell them I had no idea what they were.

"I've been meaning to ask, what are those heart… things?" I asked.

"Hearts are basically divine currency. Don't worry, they aren't actual hearts or anything. Souflees carry a lot of them, so whenever you spot one, do everything you can to stop it from getting away."

"I see," I replied. I then turned to Pit. "Um, I don't really know how these work, so maybe you should hold onto them for now?"

"Oh, sure thing!" Pit replied. "I'll help you get the hang of 'em later."

Pit retrieved the Orbitars, shrank them into a yellow gem, and stashed it in his tunic. With that, we ventured back the way we came, continuing up a larger set of stairs beside the gate I investigated. Pit shot down a Daphne at the top of the stairs, and we walked into a wider area where a Stackjaw suddenly appeared.

Pit and I separated to dodge the lasers it suddenly shot out. The beams followed me, and I wasn't capable of out-running them, so once I noticed it targeting me, I slid to a stop and crouched, holding up my shield and bracing it with my right arm to block the laser as it passed over me, nullifying the damage it would've done. Just after the lasers passed me, Pit fired a charged arrow that destroyed the top head, and I quickly fired my own charged shot at the new top, following up with rapid-fire when my first shot failed to kill. Once the second head went down, I waited for Pit to fire a charged arrow into the next and followed up by jumping up and flipping over it as I slashed with my First Blade. With only the bottom of the stack left, Pit and I rushed up and struck with melee attacks together, Pit spinning his Fortune Bow horizontally to slash rapidly while I hopped and brought my Blade down upon it, the dual attack finishing it.

With that done, we shot down a Wave Angler and walked up a wide, short staircase to find two thin, long staircases on either side. The one on the left led upwards, while the one on the right led down to some kind of hole. At the top of the wide stairs, a Komayto suddenly latched onto me.

"GAH! Get off, get off, get off!" I exclaimed, panicking and smacking the jellyfish-thing repeatedly until somehow managed to trip and roll down the right-hand staircase until I fell down the hole, at which point the Komayto detached itself from my head. Unwittingly, I bounced back up, but I managed to take advantage of that bounce to flip over the Komayto and slash it with my sword, landing just like I did when we got to the town as the monster died.

The immediate threat dealt with, I shook out my leg again, groaning in a mix of pain and frustration as Pit ran over to check on me.

"I'm fine," I said, intercepting the coming question.

"Remember, Shane, you have to use melee attacks to take down Komaytos."

I nodded as Pit hopped down the hole I fell into, only to jump back out with a shout of mild surprise.

"That looks like a jump pad in there."

"Get up, fall down, get up, fall down. Fight in the air, fight on the ground," Pit rhymed.

"It's the story of your life, isn't it?"

"Peaks and valleys, highs and lows. Pick your friends, not your nose."

With that, we moved on up the stairs. I bisected another Komayto with a jump slash, then Pit and I shot down a Syren each and dodged a Monolith on a crumbling road that led to a ramp. We walked down the ramp which led to some houses with jump pads on them, where multiple Shernums of varying sizes ambushed us.

Pit skewered one on his Fortune Bow's blades while I slashed through a small pair. We both shot down a Shernum each with charged shots, then Pit stabbed another one behind him with both blades while I destroyed the jar with a jump slash. With that, we used the first jump pad to hop onto the roof of the first house and walked over a wooden board to the second roof. Pit grabbed a yellow sphere like what he'd used back in That First Town, which I'd since been informed was called a Grenade. I guess the whole divinity thing was why it didn't even vaguely resemble the grenades I knew of.

I shot down a Daphne, and the two of us hopped along via the jump pads. We leapt over a wall, and, remembering the last two painful landings, I rolled upon hitting the ground as Pit threw his Grenade at the Shernums, Shernum jar, and Minos to our right. The Shernum and its jar were destroyed, but the Minos survived until I blasted it with a charged shot just as I came out of my roll.

After evading the Minos' spikes as it exploded, Pit and I walked up to the gate behind the fallen foes. Unfortunately…

"I don't think we can get through this way," Pit said.

"There's another way in, but you'll need a key."

We turned around, Pit picked up a key I hadn't noticed, and we continued on through an uphill alleyway to our left. Just after shooting down a Monoeye…

"Watch out!"

I backflipped and Pit flapped his wings while hopping backward as we heeded Palutena's warning, narrowly dodging a Hewdraw head as it rushed through the buildings before us, heading into the courtyard from an angle we couldn't follow.

"That came out of nowhere!" Pit exclaimed.

"You're going to need help against surprise attacks like that. Head to the courtyard ahead and I'll grant you a gift."

"Really?! That'd be great!" Pit replied as we got through the alleyway. Despite the courtyard gate being directly to our left, three Miks caught our attention as they flew to our right. I shot down one while Pit dispatched the other two, then followed Pit as he ran over to a Treasure Box just in front of some burning rubble.

Walking up, Pit propped the box open to peek at what was inside. Just like the Orbitar box earlier, a bright glow emanated from the container and obscured the loot, so Pit pushed the lid all the way open and crouched to retrieve what the glow hid, then whirled around and held it above his head with his right hand and his wings flared, revealing a pair of claw-like weapons. Smiling, Pit pumped his unoccupied fist in triumph.

"You got a pair of Tiger Claws! Claws increase the wielder's speed and excel at melee attacks, though the range and homing of their shots is a bit lacking."

"They're cool!" I remarked as Pit slipped them on, putting away his Fortune Bow.

Just then, our attention was quite literally stolen by a monster behind us. It had a purple torso with a pair of lips on the front of its saucer-shaped hips, a pair of arms that ended at an eye, a red head with a white swirl on it and a large feather coming from the back, and straw-like legs. It was performing a bizarre dance, accompanied by inexplicable music. Neither Pit nor I could look away, even as a Fire Wyrm slithered toward us through the air, though that didn't stop us from dodging it anyway—Pit slid under it, while I simply crouched with my shield in front of me.

"That's an Underworld Merenguy." Palutena explained as Pit rushed at it and slashed it in a similar manner to pushing a pair of curtains out of the way, though he failed to dispatch it.

"Why can't we take our eyes off it?" I asked, shooting the Merenguy with rapid-fire.

"Its bewitching dance moves really grab your attention and hold on to it. Better make a point of taking it down first."

Just as Palutena's explanation ended, Pit dispatched the monster with a lightning-fast five-hit combo from the claws, then took down a Komayto with the same rushing slash he performed a moment ago. With that, I blasted the Fire Wyrm with a charged shot, joined by Pit firing a charged shot from the Tiger Claws. We then both slid under the monster as it slithered through the air again, slashing its underside, then finished with another pair of charged shots. That dealt with, we set our sights forward. Pit used the key to open the courtyard, and the two of us naively walked right into the center as we waited for Palutena's "blessing".

"We're ready for that gift now, Lady Palutena!" Pit declared.

"All right then!"

A pink mist momentarily filled the air, leaving the two us seemingly unchanged… and confused.

"Uh… what just happened?" Pit asked.

Suddenly, we felt the ground rumble, and with a pair of panicked shouts, we narrowly evade the red Hewdraw head as it suddenly burst out of the ground, roaring.

"Do you like the gift? It's my patented monster pheromone! Monsters just LOVE the smell of it. And now it's all over you!"

"What?! Are you trying to kill us?!"

"Did you do something with your hair?" The Hewdraw asked as it charged at us, forcing us to run in separate directions to dodge. Four monsters suddenly appeared alongside the red-scaled head; two Monoeyes and two Gyrazers. "You're suddenly looking very attractive!"

"Uh... I need an adult." I said, backing away from the Hewdraw head as it turned its attention on me.

"I am an adult!" Hewdraw replied, to my drastically increased discomfort. I double-jumped over the next tackle it attempted, running away while Pit barraged it with the Tiger Claws' rapid-fire. I dodged a pair of Monoeye shots, firing back with the First Blade and dispatching one of them with a charged shot, then blocked the other Monoeye's projectile and the Gyrazer's lasers.

"Luckily, the pheromone only attracted one of the heads. I was wondering what you would've done if both of them had shown up."

"And you still went through with it?!" Pit cried, blasting a Gyrazer with a charged shot before dodging Hewdraw's next tackle. "We would've been finished for sure!"

Despite his words, Pit rushed at the Hewdraw as it smacked against a wall and fell over. He slashed it with the right claw, then the left, then kicked it, performed another slash with the left claw, and slashed it with both claws to finish the combo.

"Despite my winsomeness and equanimity, I do have a strong streak of rascality."

"I don't even know what that means!" Pit exclaimed, narrowly dodging another tackle from Hewdraw's head as I finished the Gyrazer he shot earlier.

Hewdraw came after me again just I took down the other Gyrazer. I leapt over the rapidly-approaching head and performed the Helm Splitter again, then jumped and rolled to dodge the last Monoeye's projectile. I then fired a charged shot at the Monoeye, which was quickly joined by another charged shot form Pit's Tiger Claws. With the Monoeye dispatched, all that remained was Hewdraw's head.

"I have a special treat for you!" Hewdraw said as the two of us regrouped and put substantial distance between us and him. "But you have to come get it~!

"Don't believe him, boys!"

"Why shouldn't they? Look at this face! I'm totally trustworthy!"

Hewdraw punctuated this statement by rushing at us threateningly. We split off once again, rolling aside to dodge the head's charge. We quickly regrouped behind the head as it flopped, and Pit switched to the Insight Staff as we pelted it with charged shots while slowly retreating. As the head charged again, I double-jumped and prepared to use Aura Storm to finish it, but before I could charge much power, it was struck by a final charged shot from Pit's Insight Staff.

With a satisfying but less-dramatic-than-normal boom and flash of light, the Hewdraw head flopped on its side and stopped moving.

I dropped to the ground, panting as I tried to calm down.

"Whew. That was dicey," Pit remarked.

"I don't think I'll be using the monster pheromone in the future."

"I should hope not!"

"What I mean is that I won't need to use it."

"Why do you say that?"

"I located the other head. Let's go to the lake outside of town."

At Palutena's words, a gate leading forward magically opened for us. Deciding to assume it was Palutena's doing, I stood up straight and prepared to follow Pit.

"Hang on a sec, Shane," Pit suddenly said, surprising me. The angel walked over to me, holding out the Tiger Claws. "Wanna try these out? I think they'll be a better fit for you than the Orbitars."

"Y-yes. Thank you," I replied, taking and equipping the claws. Just putting them on, I could already say they felt good. My body felt lighter as I grasped the handles, and I was suddenly more energetic. As if on cue, right then, a group of Monoeyes spawned behind me. I turned around to face them and found myself grinning. I saw Pit raise the Insight Staff to fire on the Monoeyes, but I held out my arm and turned my head to him. "I'd like it if you could leave this to me," I requested, feeling more confident than usual.

"Okay," Pit replied, stepping back as he twirled the staff and held it behind his back.

Facing the enemies, I found there were five Monoeyes before me, spread wide apart, but all of them were in sight when I faced the middle one. With that, I rushed forward, aiming at the one furthest to my left. I hopped, somersaulting as I swung my arms to launch a stronger-than-usual charged shot that destroyed the monster in a single hit. I slid aside to dodge the other Monoeye's projectiles, glanced between the Monoeye that used to be the center and the two on either side of it, then rushed forward and leapt into the air as the two beside my current target fired at me. In mid-air, I leaned forward and spun, twisting my left wrist so I could catch both projectiles on the edges of the claws and redirect them at the opposite Monoeyes. With only two left, I landed and leapt again, impaling the monster on both claws to instantly destroy it. The moment I hit the ground, the last Monoeye successfully shot me, getting a shout of pain and a glare in return. More annoyed than hurt, I rushed it, sliding around the next projectile, hopping over the one after that, and knocking the Monoeye down with my right claw, holding both claws under the opposite arm before finishing the monster with an outward slash from both claws.

"Nice!" Pit commented, giving a thumbs-up. With that, we moved on, walking through the open gate down a ramp into a medium-sized circular area. There was a gate that led out of town, but we ignored it—It wouldn't have led us to the lake where the last Hewdraw head was.

Our way forward was an alley to the right of the town gate, blocked by a Mega Mussel. Pit easily sniped the monster's pearls with the Insight Staff, and a Stackjaw at the end of the alley beside a staircase was made easy by Pit using a Reflect power to shield us from its laser while we fired away on the heads. Once it was dispatched, we made our way up the stairs, heading for a jump pad. Guarding the jump pad was a Gloomerang. Pit immediately opened fire on the vulnerable hand below the mask, starting with a charged staff blast before switching to the Fortune Bow. As the Gloomerang tossed its mask, the two of us slid under the projectile and jumped at the monster, slashing through and dispatching it together. That done, we let the jump pad bounce onward into a hole in the ground.

"What is this? A well?" Pit asked as we landed, noting the ramp that led down to ankle-deep water.

"That's not important. Just keep moving forward."

And so, we did. The liquid flowed at a speed that slowed our progress down, but it wasn't much of an obstacle, especially with the Tiger Claws speeding me up. But while the water wasn't an issue, some Underworld troops were a bit annoying. Upon walking down the ramp into the water, three Shulms appeared, one beside a ramp that led over and back into the water, one behind the first, and another that waited on a ramp that led out of the well.

"Watch out. Those Shulms give off a toxic cloud when they expire. Shoot them from a distance or melee them to avoid getting poisoned."

I rushed in, slashing through the first Shulm to destroy it, then hopping back to evade the second one's toxic cloud as Pit shot it down. It was then that a Komayto floated into the well from the exit. I run up and slashed through it as well while Pit ran up the exit ramp and cut down the last Shulm. With those done, I saw a Shernum-spawning jar with a small Shernum next to it, and dashed over to slice through the snake-like monster and smash the jar with a few claw-enhanced punches.

"The other Hewdraw head is regenerating its body at the lake."

"You don't think it'll have three heads again, do you?!" Pit asked tiredly as I hopped up beside him, noticing a staircase that led up, back into the town.

"I should hope not. Their bickering was intolerable."

With that, we walked up the staircase. From behind the buildings in front of us, three Monoeyes arose, each easily dispatched by arrows of light and the Tiger Claws' talon projectiles. We then turned around, walking around the staircase and shooting down a Gyrazer before bouncing off a jump pad to our next destination.

We landed atop a building front of a ramp leading to a town gate. But before we could move, the sky darkened and our path was blocked by a purple wall of fire, just like at Gaol's castle.

"It's an ambush!"

"Yeah, that's right! MY ambush!" Pit confidently declared. "You're going down, monsters!"

The angel promptly dashed to our left to retrieve a Grenade. I followed him in the hopes of staying out of the blast radius, and turned around just in time to watch him throw the explosive at a small group consisting of a Minos, Komayto, and Daphne, all of which were destroyed instantly in the detonation. The second wave, consisting of a Mega Mussel and two Ganewmedes, didn't last much longer. Pit dropped a Boom Rocket in front of one of the Ganewmedes, then grabbed my hand and pulled me along to escape the blast radius. None of the monsters survived the explosion as Pit posed with his back to the fireball.

The angel then turned back around as the third wave spawned in. A Stackjaw, Merenguy, and Syren appeared. Pit put up a Reflect Barrier and the two of us blasted the Merenguy with charged shots until it was destroyed, at which point I switched back to my First Blade, jumped over the Stackjaw and performed another Helm Splitter. Upon landing, I blasted the next head with a charged shot, and Pit launched a Mega Laser at just the right angle to destroy both the Syren and both of the Stackjaw's remaining heads, ending the monsters and dissipating the barrier.

"I think we're finally close to the last Hewdraw head. Are you ready?"

"Yes," I replied quietly.

"Let's do this!" Pit declared, leading the way. A trio of Monoeyes stood no chance and were instantly destroyed as the two of us jumped at them and slashed through with the Fortune Bow and Tiger Claws, then rushed out the gate and down the path to the lake.

We skidded to a stop as we came upon the lake and found Hewdraw swimming around, its entire serpentine body regenerate—though, thankfully, it only had the one head.

"So you've finished off the others, eh?" Hewdraw asked.

"You know it!" Pit replied, splitting his bow and taking a battle stance.

"Then you've saved the best for last. Let's get down to business!" Hewdraw declared, roaring at us.

The reptile then shot four fireballs at us, which we dodged by sliding to our right, then returned fire with charged shots. Pit switched to the Insight Staff while I stuck with the First Blade, and together we launched another pair of charged shots, then evaded a huge blue fireball Hewdraw spat at us. The fireball broke into several smaller balls of flame upon landing, which Pit and I easily evaded.

"You know, if you launch attacks while dashing, your shots will have different effects, depending on which way you're running when you launch them. Forward-dash attacks are very powerful. Look for openings to use them. But don't do a forward-dash attack when a fireball is headed at you."

After another barrage of fireballs, which Pit and I evaded easily and responded to with forward-dash charged shots, Hewdraw launched a scaly missile and submerged himself, with strange orange spheres spawning above the water.

"It went underwater?!" Pit questioned as shot down the missile.

"Here's an idea. Shoot the orange balls of light to make them drop down. We'll try to lure the Hewdraw out that way."

"Will do!" Pit responded as we slid around more scaly missiles, shooting the spheres. Most of the balls of light splashed down harmless, but eventually we knocked down one that hovered over Hewdraw's horn, which launched him into the air. The serpent-dragon… thing landed behind us, dazed.

"Now, boys! Now!"

"Time to lay the smackdown!" Pit declared, switching to the Fortune Bow and spinning it horizontally to rapidly slash the monster's underside. I switched to the Tiger Claws and joined Pit, punching rapidly until Hewdraw recovered and slithered back into the lake.

I switched back to the First Blade so I could use my shield, but Pit stuck with his Fortune Bow as Hewdrew launched another barrage of fireballs. I simply blocked them this time before firing back, not bothering with dash attacks. Hewdraw drew close to the shore, close enough that I tried a jump-slash on him. It succeeded, and Hewdraw noticeably flinched from the hit compared to most, but then it hid underwater again, and along with the scaly missiles and an orangle ball of light, there was also a purple ball. Pit uselessly shot down the orange ball while I shot the purple one, but I was then forced to block as this caused two purple projectiles to be launched at me. Two more orange spheres appeared as Hewdraw rose up, seemingly slithering on air as it charged an attack in its mouth, but Pit shot the orange spheres down, knocking Hewdraw ashore and canceling its attack.

Seizing the opportunity, I switched back to the Tiger Claws and joined Pit in wailing on the reptilian commander. Eventually, Hewdraw once again slipped back into the lake, but once he revealed himself again, Pit used a Mega Laser and the two of us finished the serpent with forward-dash charged shots, resulting in the dramatic and satisfying crackling boom and flash of light I was beginning to get used to.

"Mission complete!" Pit and I declared in unison.

"That's another one of Medusa's commanders out of the way!"

Hewdraw writhed in pain, but then focused on Pit.

"Look how far you've come, Pit. I'm proud of you," Hewdraw expressed, before dropping into the water and exploding, sending a spiral of water into the air.

"Huh. You don't usually meet such nice bosses," Pit commented as the water fell down, creating a brief rain.

"Let's get you back."

With that, a flash of light retrieved us from the battlefield, just before we missed a rainbow.

"Welcome back," Palutena greeted us. "It will take a few days to decide on our next course of action. Feel free to do whatever you'd like."

"I'm sure you'd like to relax," Pit said, turning to me. "But we should do some training, and see what weapons feel best to you. You seemed like a natural with those claws, but you never know."

"Um, before that," I nervously replied, "I… need another way to fight in the air. Winged Star kind of exploded before we got to town…"

Pit and Palutena hummed as they considered this.

"How'd you get it in the first place? I don't remember seeing you use it back in Smash," Pit said.

I closed my eyes, putting a hand to my chin I remembered. "Master Hand gave it to me. Kirby taught me the basics of how to ride it. It wasn't an item in the tournament though, so there wasn't a need to use it back then."

"What was it like when you first received it?" Palutena asked. "What did you do, how did you feel, et cetera."

"Master Hand told me to close my eyes and hold out my hand. I… felt a strange power flow through my body to my hand, and then suddenly I was holding a blue cell phone," I explained, pulling out said phone. It was pretty much identical to the one Kirby sometimes used to call his Warp Star. There were only two buttons: one green phone button that was obviously for calling the machine, but the other simply bore the Winged Star icon.

Hesitantly, I pressed the Winged Star button. At that moment, a familiar power flowed from my body into the device, and above the phone, a miniaturized Winged Star appeared in a flash of light.

"…Okay," I said simply, blinking as I caught the Air Ride machine in my left hand and put away the phone.

Pit, understandably, groaned. "I really am the only one who can't fly by himself…"

"Don't sulk, Pit," Palutena chided. "It's undignified."

"I don't think I can just do that all the time," I said. "I doubt it's safe to try to do that in the middle of a fight, and I have no clue what happens if the phone gets damaged."

"Well, with that taken care of, it's been a busy day," Palutena said. "Why don't you two go ahead and relax for the rest of the day?"

"All right! Hot springs, here I come!" Pit declared, running off.

I nodded silently to Palutena, and decided to simply shower and lay down. I could somehow tell, the next few days were going to be busy.

Sorry, no alternate scenes. They would all result in the "I need an adult" exchange anyway for the disembodied head fight, and the rest wouldn't feature Shane commenting, so there's no real point.

Also, yes, Shane learned the Hidden Skills from Link. Mostly for some variety in fight scenes. I'll describe each skill for it's first use in this and all subsequent stories, then use the name of the skill for each use afterward.